Ray Williams, a former basketball star known for his time on the New York Knicks, died on Friday at the age of 58.
Williams came to fame in the 1970s and 1980s as a guard playing for New York, New Jersey, Kansas City, Boston, Atlanta and San Antonio. His career average was 15.5 points and 5.8 assists over his 10 seasons of professional basketball.
Born on October 14, 1954, Ray Williams played college basketball at the University of Minnesota. During his two seasons at the school, he averaged 18.9 points per game and played with such basketball greats as Kevin McHale, Mychal Thompson and Flip Saunders. The Knicks drafted Williams 10th overall in 1977.
When he left the NBA, Williams faced a difficult financial future. He filed for bankruptcy in 1994 and was homeless by 2010, living out of his car in Florida. An article on the former star published in the Boston Globe brought help from former teammates, and Williams eventually got a job at the parks and recreation department in his hometown of Mount Vernon, NY.
Knicks coach Mike Woodson offered a tribute to Williams before a game in Toronto: “It’s a major loss. He’s part of our Knicks family. Our organization has been fantastic through this. I tip my hat to the Knicsk and the fact they stood in Ray’s corner. He’ll be missed. Ain’t no doubt about that.”